IBM folds, Amazon wins US$600m CIA deal

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IBM folds, Amazon wins US$600m CIA deal

Online retail giant Amazon looks set to build a spy cloud for the CIA after IBM withdraw an injunction against the contract work. 

Amazon won the US$600 million (A$632 million) contract nine months ago to build the CIA's cloud computing infrastructure, but the project has been stalled after IBM lodged a protest against the win, triggering a report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In June this year, the GAO gave IBM a partial win when it recommended that the CIA re-tender parts of the contract, giving Big Blue another chance to get a foot in the door.

Amazon retaliated by taking legal action against the recommendations and scored a victory in October this year when the court ruled against IBM and said work could start.

IBM in turn asked for injunctive relief while it considered an appeal.

However, Federal Computer Week reported IBM has dropped the injunction against Amazon contract work commencing, possibly due after government pressure.

The US government lodged a court document saying that IBM's injunction and further delays caused by it would hurt national security. IBM folded in light of the government's submission, and withdrew the injunction.

IBM is maintaining that its cloud offering is superior to Amazon's. However, the GAO report said the opposite, with the CIA highlighting grave concerns about IBM's ability to provide a key feature of the contract, namely auto-scaling of cloud compute and storage resources.

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